What does an implant cost?

Why make it simple when it can be complicated? In Germany, this also applies to the cost of an implant. One thing in advance: You will only find out the exact costs once your dentist has drawn up a treatment and cost plan. Find out more!

Privately insured?

Hail to those who are insured with a private health insurer and need an implant. Private insurers generally pay more for dental prostheses than statutory health insurance companies (1). However, even in this case it is impossible to find out the exact cost of a dental implant. This is because practically every private health insurance company has its own reimbursement system. And, of course, this also depends on the tariff you choose.

I love my implant: A lasting relationship costs money

Quality pays off: This is especially true for dental implants. A Swedish study has examined the lifespan of various implants (2). According to the study, quality products clearly have the longest lifespan. However, these implants are not available at discount prices.

This already shows that focusing too much on the cost of an implant alone can cloud your view. What you may save when placing an artificial tooth can be wiped out if you lose it early. You should also not forget that an implant incurs follow-up costs - because the friendship with your new tooth needs to be maintained.

Professional teeth cleaning several times a year and a regular aMMP-8 test help to prevent peri-implantitis. Inflammation is the enemy of all implants and also the most common reason for tooth loss. Careful hygiene is therefore a prerequisite for the long life of dental implants.

From percentages to the fixed allowance system

Before 2005, it was somewhat easier to determine the exact cost of dentures. The statutory health insurance companies paid a certain percentage of the treatment. Since 2005, the fixed allowance system has replaced this relatively simple regulation. The legal regulation for this can be found in § 87, fifth book of the German Social Security Code (3).

Today, health insurance companies have a catalog with 50 (!) different individual findings for dentures. There is a fixed allowance for each finding, which is adjusted annually. They cover half of the average costs of standard care. Officially, this is the standard treatment. However, the word "standard care" suggests that this is often the simplest of all solutions.

The actual implant - artificial tooth root plus abutment - must be paid for in full by you as a person with statutory health insurance. You will only receive a fixed allowance for the crown, the actual dental prosthesis.

One thing is certain: You will have to pay most of the costs of the implant out of your own pocket.

Treatment and cost plan: Important for everyone

Your dentist advises you to get an implant? After an examination, the first step on the way to a dental prosthesis is the so-called treatment and cost plan (4). You need this regardless of whether you have statutory or private health insurance. It forms the basis for the health insurance company's decision on the amount they will pay for your implant.

This plan is divided into five sections and two parts. The first part is intended for the insurance company and lists, among other things, all diagnosis numbers. This is important for calculating the subsidy.

Do imports really make the implant cheaper?

Since 2016, dentists have also had to state in the plan in which country the dentures are expected to be made. The background: The German Dental Association published a study on dental tourism and foreign dentures back in 2009 (5).

Even back then, one in ten dentures in German dental practices came from abroad. According to the study, the opinion of German dentists about foreign products is quite ambivalent. 29 percent of all respondents consider imported dentures to be worse, only 10 percent consider them to be better.

However, as always in life, the same applies to implants: Quality has its price. The study mentioned above shows that cheap imports generally have a shorter lifespan than implants from well-known manufacturers.

Important: If you want to ask your health insurance company to pay for an implant, nothing works without the treatment and cost plan. This has already been confirmed by several court rulings (6).

The second part of the treatment and cost plan is intended for you and is only filled out if the patient is not satisfied with the standard treatment. You will always receive it for a dental implant. It not only shows you the exact costs for your planned dental prosthesis. The dentist must enter in the lower part how much the standard treatment would cost you.

What to do if complications arise?

A treatment and cost plan does not mean that the estimated costs are set in stone. It does not guarantee a fixed price. If complications arise or you decide on a different solution at short notice, this can lead to additional costs. In the event of major changes, you will need a new treatment and cost plan, which the health insurance company must approve again.

Note: As a patient, you are responsible for ensuring that the bill is paid. The reason: You conclude a contract with the dentist as a private individual.

Overview of implant prices

The following table gives you a rough overview of the approximate costs you will incur. The health insurance contribution has not yet been deducted from the individual amounts. The costs refer to implant systems of proven brands and dentures from a German laboratory run by a master dental technician.

Imported dentures or an inexpensive implant system can reduce the stated costs, but may result in higher follow-up costs.

Type of implant Price range
Implant for a single tooth 2,200 to 4,700 euros
Implant bridge between two implanted dental crowns 3,900 to 7,000 euros
Removable bridge on two implanted dental crowns 3,900 to 8,500 euros
Removable bridge on four implanted dental crowns 7,900 to 10,000 euros
Fixed bridge on six implants From approx. 17,500 euros

Basic information on costs

The cost of implants consists of three major items:

1. implant: The term implant refers only to the artificial tooth root plus the abutment, the intermediate piece for the denture. It costs at least around 1,000 euros.

2. laboratory and production costs: The actual dental crown is produced by a dental laboratory. The costs here also amount to around 1,000 euros.

3. costs for the dentist's services: These costs vary greatly and depend on the individual case. Your dentist's treatment and cost plan will provide you with information about these items. In addition to the preliminary examination, consultation and planning, the surgery costs are also included here, as are the removal of the stitches, insertion of the gingiva former and much more. If complications arise, the costs will increase.

Plan for follow-up costs

As already mentioned, you should think about the follow-up costs when considering the cost of an implant. This includes regular dental hygiene three to four times a year at your dentist. The aMMP-8 test twice a year also prevents the costly loss of an implant. This saliva test informs you about the possible breakdown of collagen in the oral cavity. Collagen is important because as structural tissue it ensures that the implant sits securely. If detected in good time, this test helps to prevent complications such as peri-implantitis and implant loss and pays off in the long term, and not just financially.

Other cost factors

Computer-aided 3D diagnostics and the use of drilling templates are now state-of-the-art technology for implants. They allow high precision during implantation, but have to be paid for separately. The planning and the drilling template together cost between 400 and 600 euros, often more.

If your bone cannot withstand an implant, a bone augmentation is required. Like everything at the dentist, this procedure is not cheap. You should budget at least 200 to 300 euros for the necessary bone augmentation if your own bone material can be used. In complicated cases, however, the costs can quickly add up to 1,000 euros or more.

Not to forget the cost of anesthesia. Local anesthesia is cheaper than general anesthesia. You should budget several hundred euros for a general anesthetic. It may also require further preliminary examinations.

Costs for a single implant

Closing a gap for a lost tooth is the classic case and one of the most common reasons for an implant. The position of the implant also influences the price.

Costs in brief

The cost of a molar implant is between 2,800 and 3,700 euros.

For an implant of an anterior tooth, you need to budget between 3,000 and 4,700 euros.

Tip: There is a kind of volume discount for implants. A single implant is more expensive than two implants. Dentists can only charge once for planning and surgery for two or more implants.

Costs for two implants

This is where it gets complicated. The amount of the health insurance subsidy differs depending on whether two individual gaps are filled or whether it is a so-called free-end gap. A free-end gap means that the last molars are missing. The health insurance company pays less for this. The subsidy is also reduced when closing a large gap between teeth.

Note: Logic only plays a limited role in the fixed cost subsidy.

Costs in brief

To calculate the cost of two implants, double the cost of one implant system - that is, implant plus crown from the dental laboratory. You only have to estimate the planning and treatment costs once.

Implants as supporting pillars for bridges

Your dentist advises you to replace an entire row of teeth? You don't need individual implants for each tooth. Two implants can support a bridge with three teeth.

Costs in brief

There is even a rule of thumb for calculating these costs:

The first implant costs 2,200 euros, each additional implant only 2,000 euros. The cost of the individual bridge units is around 350 euros.

Disadvantage: With this solution, the health insurance fund only pays the subsidy for simple, removable dentures.

Full denture on implants

Are your upper or lower jaw practically toothless or are you about to lose your last teeth? Now it gets really complicated. One costly solution is to attach bridges to individual implants. You can use the above rule of thumb.

There are also various retention systems for anchoring a full denture. A full denture refers to teeth that are attached to a bed. This bed resembles natural gums and covers the entire jaw. This is why a denture always gives you the feeling of having a foreign body in your mouth.

You need at least two implants to hold a denture in place. However, it is safer to suspend the full denture from four implants. There is a large selection of retaining elements. The cheapest are prefabricated models such as ball head anchors or magnets.

There are also so-called bar prostheses. Metal bars connect the individual implants and the prosthesis rests on the metal bars. This distributes the forces more evenly when chewing.

Costs in brief

A solution on two implants costs around 5,000 euros, on four implants 7,000 to 8,000 euros.

Teeth in the whole jaw on implants

Implants can also support fixed teeth and thus provide an entire jaw with fixed dentures. There are various solutions for this. Some concepts involve four implants supporting a fixed bridge. However, some dentists recommend six to eight implants to better distribute the load.

Costs in brief

The cost of fitting an entire jaw with implants and fixed teeth starts at around 13,000 euros.

Possible: Save costs with a second opinion

Along with the fixed-cost subsidy, the statutory health insurance funds also introduced the somewhat unwieldy second opinion model in 2005 (8). For you, this means that as soon as your dentist has presented you with the treatment and cost plan, you can ask around and get a second opinion.

The health insurance company covers the costs of a second treatment and cost plan. A second cost estimate would perhaps be the exact term for this method. Since an implant costs several thousand euros in any case, it may be worth spending some time and energy on it.

Term or not: There are several options available to you for a second opinion. On the one hand, you can contact the advice centers of the dental associations (9) (10). On the other hand, there is the possibility of so-called auction portals on the Internet.

You can upload your treatment and cost plan here. Dentists registered with the portal then have the opportunity to make you a counter-offer.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled in 2010 that this approach is legal (11). Stiftung Warentest, the German consumer watchdog, took a close look at such portals back in 2006 and was really impressed by them (12).

As a patient, you can decide on an offer on the portals. The applying dentist will then draw up a new treatment and cost plan. It is a bad sign if the price quoted differs from the quoted price. In this case, the dentist should be able to explain this deviation well.

Is saving money on an implant really that important?

You know your dentist and you know that he does a good job. Placing an implant is a lengthy procedure that takes many months. A price comparison on an auction portal can be a good basis for renegotiating the cost of dental services. But do you really want to offend your trusted dentist?

Perhaps you can actually save a few hundred euros with a second opinion or a price comparison on the Internet. However, you don't know how well an unknown dentist actually works. Craftsmanship is crucial when it comes to the work of a dentist. If you are satisfied with your dentist, you should think carefully about changing.

Conclusion: Expensive, but beautiful

Implants support crowns that can look like natural teeth. But this beauty comes at a price. Even a single implant costs well over 2,000 euros in most cases. For complicated solutions with implants, you need to budget many thousands of euros. In addition, there are follow-up costs for professional teeth cleaning and early diagnosis of inflammation.

It is impossible to put an exact figure on the price of an implant. Every case is different and dentists and dental laboratories charge different prices. In the planning phase, you will definitely need a treatment and cost plan in order to apply for subsidies from your health insurance company. With this plan, it is possible to obtain a second opinion. This raises the question: is it worth saving money on an implant? As always in life, quality has its price.

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